Griffith Park closed! 3 different tales

bbq.jpgThis ain’t quite Rashomon, but it is a bit of a mystery:

So I set out for my usual Thursday ride up Commonwealth Canyon, and I run into a few roadblocks. What’s interesting is not that Griffith Park is closed until further notice due to last week’s fires, but that city workers are giving out three separate stories as to how long we’ll have to wait to get in again:

Dude 1: Commonwealth Cyn, entrance, pickup truck at the top behind an “Area Closed” sign:

“Sorry, sir, it’s closed for at least the rest of the week.” “How come?” “I dunno, there’s still a lotta smoke up in there.” “Hunh. I was up there last week and it was cool.” He shrugs. I move on and try another entrance … 2: Vermont entrance, behind a full-on cone barricade with gas-powered flasher board:

“Sorry, sir, you can’t go up there. It’s closed.” “For how long?” “It’s gonna be at least until the end of the summer.” “What-the …? What are they doing up there?” ” I dunno, but they closed it for the summer. Twenty-five geologists said it could come down at any minute.” CLANK! (Sound of my jaw hitting the pavement at the audacity of this tale.) “That’s why they posted the Public Services Police here – it’s not safe.” (No such agency exists – the guy’s just wearing a Public Services shoulder patch on his shirt, and a hazard-orange vest.) 3: Griffith Park Drive entrance, cone barricade with flasher board (pictured at top):

“Sorry, sir, it’s closed for now.” “For how long?” “Oh, probably just the end of this week.” “What are they doing in there?” “They’re doing some cleanup, I guess, but it should be open by probably tomorrow at the latest. Maybe 5 o’clock.”

Hmm. Do I dare venture back up Vermont tomorrow afternoon to see if 25 geologists were wrong?

10 thoughts on “Griffith Park closed! 3 different tales”

  1. Twenty-five, eh? It might have been plausible if he’d said “a geologist says…” But I like the made-up police agency. Gives it that extra authenticity, just in case you’ve never heard of geologists.

  2. I would have believed it if he had said “4 out 5 geologists agree – it’s not safe!”

    That’s how I buy toothpaste.

  3. Geologists scare me. I’m just staying the hell away from the park as long as they’re up there. (shudder)

  4. Just remember the other name for geologist is “rock licker”. Don’t ask how I know.

  5. Well, I seriously doubt that there are 25 geologists combing the hills of Griffith Park…due to the fact, that the expense for the city would be immense for their services. I should know, I’m a geologist (and an occasional rock licker!) But I think the guy was lying because the only danger would be when it rains…creating mudslides due to the lack of vegetation. Also, most of the area of Griffith Park that was burned is granitic (aka Hard Rock) so it shouldn’t be a problem.

  6. On Monday I was told (at Commonwealth) that it’d likely be closed until September. Didn’t hear anything about Geologists.

    It does make sense (IMO) to keep people out until they get the place replanted and give the new growth some time to put in roots; and that that’ll take a while in this season’s climate.

  7. I actually DON’T think it makes sense to keep people out…or replant. If anything, I want to lead some hikes through the area right now, and every week after to allow people to see what really happens after a fire. Too often we think of a burned area as “destroyed” when, in fact, it could be a whole new beginning. The native plants in the area might just get a reprieve from all the invasive species that have been burned off before the non-natives have a chance to re-assert themselves.

    I think it will be amazing to watch the re-growth from something that looks, today, totally devoid of life. I have seen it before and the ability of these areas to rebound is amazing.


    PS. As for the different messages that each “official” reported, this is so normal for LA as to be absurd. They don’t have any answer so they make things up from snippets they overheard. It also shows LA penchant for closing down public areas at the least provocation. What damage can hikers do to an area already burned — if they stay on existing trails and don’t promote erosion of the surrounding areas.

  8. my bf and i were able to hike up to the griffith observatory this past sunday- we walked up from the entrance off of western and franklin. The road was open up until the end of the Fern Dell area, and past that, pedestrians were able to hike on up to teh observatory. The trail up to dante’s view was closed (understandably), but we were able to get a pretty close view of the fire damage from up there…

    the observatory worked we spoke to said the la zoo had reopened as well, so that end of the park must still be open to the public as well…

    ps- if the vermont exit is closed, does this mean the whole season for the greek has been displaced to universal amp?

  9. Well, at least the Observatory remains open, though you can’t park at the Greek:

    Posted May 15, 2007 9:00 a.m.

    Griffith Observatory will be OPEN to the public this week on a normal weekday schedule (open 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.). We will conduct school programs as normal.

    Visitors with shuttle reservations for the parking lots at the Los Angeles Zoo and Hollywood & Highland should board their shuttles at the time indicated on their reservation. SPECIAL NOTE for those parking at the Los Angeles Zoo lot: the entrance to Griffith Park from Los Feliz Boulevard
    remains closed; please plan an alternate route.

    The Vermont and Fern Dell entrances to Griffith Park remain closed to private vehicles and pedestrians. There is still NO parking at or around the Greek Theatre. Most trails around the Observatory remain closed.

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